Monday, February 3, 2020

Booknotes: The Women of City Point, Virginia, 1864-1865

New Arrival:
The Women of City Point, Virginia, 1864-1865: Stories of Life and Work in the Union Occupation Headquarters by Jeanne Marie Christie (McFarland, 2020).

From the description: "After more than three years of grim fighting, General Ulysses Grant had a plan to end the Civil War--laying siege to Petersburg, Virginia, thus cutting off supplies to the Confederate capital at Richmond. He established his headquarters at City Point on the James River, requiring thousands of troops, tons of supplies, as well as extensive medical facilities and staff."

More: "Nurses flooded the area, yet many did not work in medical capacities--they served as organizers, advocates and intelligence gatherers. Nursing emerged as a noble profession with multiple specialties. Drawing on a range of primary and secondary sources," Jeanne Marie Christie's The Women of City Point, Virginia, 1864-1865 "covers the resilient women who opened the way for others into postwar medical, professional and political arenas."

The book discusses a pretty expansive cross-section of women who lived and worked at City Point. Chapters address contraband women, independent nurses, government nurses, female representatives of the U.S. Christian and U.S. Sanitary commissions (the USCC and USSC), official state agents, and officer wives. The final chapter comprises a lengthy alphabetized register of City Point women referenced in the author's sources, the amount of biographical and work details attached to each varying widely. In recognition of how the environment of City Point affected working conditions and morale, an appendix summarizes weather conditions on a nearly daily basis between June 1864 and April 1865.

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